4 December 2014

Andrew O'Leary sails from Dublin

A family leaves Ireland

In the early years of white settlement in the newly established colony of South Australia, there was urgent need for agricultural laborers. Suitable candidates were selected from Ireland and England to fill this gap. During 1835 eleven commissioners were appointed to control land sales and any revenue. They were also in charge of regulating the flow of emigrants. From the initial nine ships that had sailed in 1836, immigration grew steadily and during 1840 nearly 3000 people reached South Australian shores. Desirable applicants were expected to be fit and preferably married with family to populate the state.

Andrew O'Leary from County Cork, Ireland fitted this bill and sought assisted passage for himself to be accompanied by wife and four children. Andrew is listed as an agricultural labourer, 36 years old on his application (number 7592) seeking assisted passage to South Australia. The  ship Mary Dugdale departed Dublin on June 2nd 1840 for a journey to Port Adelaide which lasted for four months.

Aboard with Andrew were his wife Catherine (born Burke 1818) and the children, the baby Honora was only a few months old. While the application shows that passage was sought for 4 children, the census record taken in 1841 only lists 2 boys under fourteen and one daughter under 7 as part of the household.
Is it possible that their other child died aboard the Mary Dugdale as there were 8 deaths on that voyage all of whom were recorded as children?

Life in South Australia

In 1845 Andrew is listed as being a petitioner on The Memorial by the Colonists of South Australia against the introduction of convicts. Andrew had purchased land at Salisbury and along with other colonists was making a hard earned living "to found for themselves and their children a virtuous happy and permanent home"  the moral tone of which they felt would be undermined by the introduction of felons. (1.)

In  July 1846 we find Andrew in the magistrates court seeking £3 wages owing to him from 1843 at the rate of 6 shillings per day. The defendant is ordered to pay £2 8s at 10s per week. (2.)
This money would now have been essential for survival as by then at least another three children, including David Joseph (1843) had been born. We can garner more of those early days from David's recollections on his 90th birthday in 1933.

Here we see that Andrew and Catherine arrived with three children perhaps adding weight to the theory that a child died aboard the ship in 1840.

By 1849 Andrew had 26 head of cattle on the property purchased at Salisbury.
As years passed the newspapers of the day mention some of the sons being involved in ploughing matches in districts nearby. Here are the rules for a typical ploughing match; a tough day's work indeed.

" Each competitor to plough half an acre in one ridge and two half ridges, with an equal number of furrows on each side of the ridge,  independent of the mould furrow.
The depth to be five inches, and not more than nine inches wide. Time allowed six hours." (3.)

These competitive days drew large crowds sometimes up to 600 people. They were popular with the ladies too. After the hard work of supplying the food, these days were also a social gathering.

Perhaps it was here at one of these ploughing matches that my great grandfather John Horgan met and wooed Andrew and Catherine's daughter, Honora O'Leary.

Andrew (great-great-grandfather) died on June 6th, 1882 at Salisbury listed at the age of 88, he had been in the colony for 42 years. His wife Catherine (great-great grandmother) had predeceased him in September of 1871 at the age of 53.

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Andrew O'Leary
Spouse: Catherine Burke

Relationship to Carmel: Great-great-grandparents
  1. Andrew O'Leary
  2. Honora O'Leary
  3. Andrew Joseph Horgan
  4. Edward John Horgan
  5. Carmel
1. 1845 'MEMORIAL BY THE COLONISTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF CONVICTS.', South Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1844 - 1851), 14 February, p. 2, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71600655 
2. 1846 'RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT.', Adelaide Observer(SA : 1843 - 1904), 1 August, p. 7, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158922940
3. 1860 'VII—AGRICULTURAL PROCEEDINGS.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 25 August, p. 4, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article823193
Further newspaper articles relating to this O'Leary family http://trove.nla.gov.au/list?id=53065

17 April 2014

A significant date

My mother's birthday

Hannah O'Dea (est. mid 1930s)
On April 17th, 1912 my mother Hannah Olive O'Dea was born in Pinnaroo, South Australia to Patrick John O'Dea and Georgina Ellen O'Dea (born Bennett).

Today is the first anniversary of her birthday since her death at the age of 101 on June 27th, 2013. I am sure my six siblings, some of their children and maybe some of the cousins will be remembering her fondly today by whatever name they called her - Mum, Nana, Nana Hannah, Aunty Nan.

She married Edward John Horgan in 1937 and her focus in life was always her family and her faith. She left behind 7 children and their spouses, 27 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.

Birthdays were always an opportunity to gather all the family together, catch up on news and events in children's lives and of course celebrate with a cake big enough to share.
Mum was incredibly good at remembering all the birthdays and always made sure she had a suitable card to send. Many shopping expeditions included the purchase of birthday cards for others. From her box of cards she could retrieve an appropriate greeting for most people and most occasions and with her small birthday book always nearby, she recorded births as well as deaths.

She saved the cards received and over the years they kept many a child entertained as we cut and re-purposed them into tags, decorative boxes or simply used them to decorate pages of school or craft work. Discarded envelopes and the backs of cards were used for shopping lists with stamps being saved "for the Missions."

There will be no cards today, but we have many fond memories of birthdays past. Happy Birthday, Mum.

Cutting the cake at 70 in 1982
Cutting the cake at 80 in 1992

2004 with great grandson - 7th generation Horgan in South Australia
Hannah Horgan (seated)
2012 Celebrating 100 years with friends Marie N, Vera H, Avis P. and Carmel Mc.
Riverton Hospital, South Australia

24 March 2014

Exploring the Horgan data

Time for some reflections on my research. I've been looking at the data gathered so far and adding citations where previously missed. In order to look at missing fields and determine where I need further data I've been analysing one family at a time.
Here's some facts for those of you with the Horgan surname.
There are 97 people in my database who were born Horgan.
  • earliest confirmed birth -  1828 Ballymacdonnell, Ireland
  • most recent birth  - 2004 South Australia
  • males - 47
  • females - 50
  • most common male names - Thomas x 9, John x 9
  • most common female names - Mary x 8, Catherine x 5
  • marriages - 46 known marriages 22/47 males, 24/50 females
  • religious orders - 2 males and 5 females joined religious orders
  • birth places - Ireland 5, South Australia 89, Victoria 3
  • living people - 32
  • deceased - 65 most recent 2011
So now it's time to head back to the research to fill some holes in the data.

8 March 2014

Horgan interactive chart

Here is a 'who's who' of my father's line that I have investigated so far. I've been experimenting with an interactive chart. Hover over the names to find more information about a person or couple.

For those who are interested in the process I made the chart in PowerPoint, saved it as an image then added the interactive spots in ThingLink. The ThingLink file can be updated with additional information over time.

4 March 2014

109 Days Later

The barque "China" courtesy SA Maritime Museum
On Monday 26th July 1852, the barque "China" left Plymouth bound for South Australia with 184 adult and 122 child immigrants aboard. Amongst those were many Irish passengers who were leaving the horrors of the great famine behind them.

My widowed great-great-grandmother, Johanna Horgan (born Fitzgerald) 1805 -1880, and her 3 children were aboard having already travelled from County Kerry to Plymouth. The assisted passenger lists name them as Thomas, John and David whom we will later come to know as Daniel. Their voyage of 109 days was not without its difficulties and deaths despite the fine weather recorded on their arrival at Port Adelaide.

The barque China, which arrived at the Lightship on Thursday night at 12 o'clock, experienced very fine weather during the passage not having had a heavy gale of wind since leaving Plymouth. There were no deaths among the adults, but among the young children there were ten deaths, nine of these being under two years old. 1.

There were also 6 births recorded on that voyage. Imagine losing an infant or having a newborn at sea in 1852 aboard a heaving vessel without the most basic of conveniences or indeed the privacy a land based birth could offer. And what of those parents who had to see their child buried at sea, they must have wondered if they had made the right decision leaving all they knew behind.

In order for the ship to be granted another trip carrying assisted immigrants it was necessary to prove that all had gone well, so an attestation of goodwill would have carried weight with the commissioners deciding on the future employment of the ship's captain and his crew. This notice appeared in "The South Australian Register" just 6 days after the China's arrival in Port Adelaide.

WE the EMIGRANTS of the Ship "CHINA,"  from London, Plymouth, to Port Adelaide, desire to offer to you, and the Officers serving under you, our humble testimonial of the high sense we entertain of your unwearied exertions to promote, in every way, our comfort and happiness during the long voyage from England to Australia, at all times, and on all occasions. 

We beg that you will accept this, and we sincerely regret that it is not in our power to offer to you a more substantial token of the very high respect and esteem in which you are held by us. 

We wish you and your amiable and kind-hearted lady health and happiness, and we hope that the friends who may follow us may be fortunate enough to sail with you. 
We remain, Sir, yours very sincerely, THE UNDERSIGNED.....

There follows the signatures of men and women separated into 3 categories: Single women, Single men and Married men. In those lists one finds Joanna Horgan under single women and Thomas and John Horgan under single men. The attestation concludes with these words:

These are the genuine signatures, or marks, of the whole of the Single Women, Single Men, and Married Men, being the heads of families, on board the ship "China:'' 
THOMAS WORSNOP, Schoolmaster on board, DAVID ROBERTSON, Constable, JOHN MILLER, Constable. 2.

It appears indeed that this journey was more benign than many reported elsewhere.  My ancestors, this family of Horgans listed, went on to establish themselves as farmers in land selected near Tarlee in South Australia. There Johanna lived with her family until 1880. Her death was recorded in the Kapunda Herald and The South Australian Advertiser.

HORGAN.—On the 1st February, at her son's  residence, near Tarlee, Johanna Horgan, late of County Kerry, Ireland, aged 75 years, an old resident and much respected by a large circle of friends—a colonist of twenty-six years. 3.

1. 1852 'SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 13 November, p. 2, viewed 4 March, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38463488 
2. 1852 'Advertising.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 18 November, p. 4, viewed 27 February, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38454639
3. 1880 'Family Notices.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 11 February, p. 4, viewed 17 July, 2013 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30798433

4. More information on early voyages to South Australia can be viewed via the Pictorial collection the Mementoes of Migration from the SA Maritime Museum.

25 February 2014

My parents' wedding 1937

This beautiful photo was taken on my parents' wedding day, April 6th 1937. 
Edward John Horgan was 29 and Hannah Olive O'Dea almost 25. 
They were married in St Mary's Catholic Church, Hamley Bridge, South Australia.

The story relating to this day was retold to a granddaughter in 1992. So here are my mother's words:

I met Edward Horgan at a St. Patrick’s night ball and he asked Mum if he could take me home.  He kissed me goodnight at the gate and later told me that that was when he put his brand on me!

Growing up seemed like a long process, but suddenly I found myself in adulthood.  Teenage years had gone and that meant that I must accept responsibility for the rest of my life.  At this stage, my thoughts were with settling down.  I had met the man of my dreams and after a few years – on the 9th of July, 1935 – I became engaged to Eddie.  I set about planning my future with a farmer husband.
1935 'Family Notices.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 11 July, p. 25,
To leave my home and friends in a country town and move to an isolated farm seemed a big step for me.  I pondered over it for almost two years before deciding upon a wedding date.  I had other things to think about, too.  As my future husband’s mother had died a few years prior to this time, he (Eddie), his father and his brother, Joe, had lived on the farm with a housekeeper to care for them.  How could I take the job of an experienced housekeeper?  I realised that I must take on her position, as Eddie managed the farm for his aged father.

We planned our wedding for the 6th of April, 1937, and the day arrived bright and sunny.  I had a busy morning dressing at our home with two of my great friends, Mary O’Neill and Norah Carrigg, who were my bridesmaids.  We set out for St. Mary’s Church, Hamley Bridge for the ten o’clock Nuptial Mass, where Father Farrelly, our local parish priest, was celebrant.  My eldest brother, Jack, walked me up the aisle and presented me to Eddie, who was assisted by his brother Joe and a cousin, Frank McInerney.

My dear mother must have been so tired out after all the preparation she did for us.  Our Aunts, Uncles, cousins and many friends celebrated with us after Mass at the Hamley Bridge Institute.  ‘Twas mid afternoon before we set out for Gawler with the wedding party to have photos taken by Marchants, the photographer. 

From Gawler, Eddie and I boarded a train to begin our honeymoon.  After arriving in Adelaide, we booked in at the Grosvenor Hotel, opposite the Adelaide Railway Station.  We had breakfast the next morning and then boarded a train again for Murray Bridge.  We spent a week at the Bridgeport Hotel, and then the following week at the Mt. Barker Hotel, where I celebrated my 25th birthday.
We arrived at the Alma farm about two weeks after our marriage to take up our new life.

After Mum died at age 101 in June 2013, we found among her effects a postcard of the Bridgeport Hotel. A memento of a very special time.

17 February 2014

Celebrations 1913 style

This 1913 account of the Golden Wedding celebrations of my maternal great grandparents, John O'Dea 1835 -1930 and Maria O'Dea (born Crowley) 1841 - 1929, reflects their Irish roots. Reports of this celebration appeared in three papers of the times, with this account providing the most detail and background to their lives.
One of the eleven grandchildren mentioned was my mother, Hannah Horgan (born O'Dea.) It sounds like a jolly good time was had by all with songs and recitals. This was one of the things my mother liked to do too, gather family together and enjoy a singalong around a piano.


The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. John O'Dea was celebrated at their residence, Clare Villa, Hamley Bridge, on August 8, by a family gathering. The event by special request consisted only of members of the family circle and relatives available. After the feast was partaken of the family joined unitedly in wishing the old people further happy years, and expressed pleasure that they were spared to that golden privilege that it is the lot of few to enjoy. The evening was spent in cardplaying, singing, and reciting in a manner that embodied a thorough family reunion, and was of a nature that recalled a repetition of many evenings of yore, before the spirit of roving and romance divided those that clustered round the one hearth. 

Mr. O'Dea arrived in South Australia with his parents by the ship "Time and Truth" in May, 1854, from County Clare, Ireland, at the age of 19. He travelled from Port Adelaide to Bagot Station, near Kapunda by the motor of the day, the old bullock dray. The family settled there for about eight years, and during intervals with other pioneers he carted copper from the Burra to Port Adelaide. He tells many thrilling tales of those days, when they were all new chums, and when the word hardship had no meaning for them. 

Mrs. O'Dea (at that time Miss Crowley) arrived in Melbourne with her sister in December, 1862, at the age of 21 years, having also come from County Clare. They came to Port Adelaide a week later, where they were met by her brothers, of Bagot's Gap. The couple were married at the old church of St. John, Kapunda, by the late Rev. Michael Ryan., on August 8 following, and took up their residence in Pinkerton's Plains, where Mr. O'Dea had then taken up land within two miles of their present home. 

The Plains in those days were in their wild state, with kangaroos and emus, and visits of the blacks were not unknown. That was years before the railway was built or Hamley Bridge was even talked about. Mrs. O'Dea, with other lady settlers, used to walk to Stockport (eight miles), as it was the nearest place in those days where the necessaries of life could be obtained. They have seen Hamley Bridge grow from nothing to its present prosperous state, and it is now an enjoyable portion of theirs to have a comfortable home in one of the best sites in the town, having sold their farm 18 months ago. Both are still hale and hearty, and much enjoyed their family reunion after half a century of happy life. 

There are five living members of the family-Messrs. P. J. and M. J. O'Dea, of Ngallo, Victoria; Mrs. C. Kain, and Misses M. I. and H. T. O'Dea, of Hamley Bridge and 11 grandchildren. The son, P. J. O'Dea, was one of the first persons in Hamley Bridge who was instrumental in starting a branch of the United Labor Party, and he was afterwards assisted by his brother, M. J. O'Dea.

1913 'GOLDEN WEDDING.', Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), 16 August,1913 p. 5 Section: Magazine Section, , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105588635 

30 January 2014

A great place to marry

The start of a family tradition

This small church in Tarlee, South Australia has been the venue for weddings of Horgan family members across several generations.

The church was officially opened on Sunday August 12th 1877 (1) and Stations of the Cross that came from Austria were added in 1881. The opinion of the time was "they are masterpieces of art and really beautiful." (2)

It was to here, that my grandfather Andrew Joseph Horgan at age 36 and his bride to be, Elizabeth Agnes Smyth aged ~34, came on February 6th, 1906.

1906 'MARRIAGES.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954),
17 February, p. 50,
A wedding was celebrated at St. John and Pauls' Church, Tarlee, on Tuesday, February 6 between Miss Lizzie Smyth, of Alma, and Mr. A. Horgan of Pine Creek. The church was beautifully decorated by Mr. McCarthy (sexton) and girl friends of the bride. The bride, who was given away by her brother, was frocked in cream silk, trimmed with lace and narrow ribbon; she wore the usual veil and orange-blossom wreath. The attendant maid, Miss Norah Horgan (bridegroom's sister), was in cream voile, and a picture hat. The Rev. M. Mahar officiated, and Mr. John Horgan was best man. A reception was afterwards held at the residence of the bride's mother. Mr, Mrs. Andrew Horgan have gone to New Zealand for a honeymoon trip. 

I wonder how they travelled to New Zealand and how long the holiday lasted before returning to the hard life of farming.

Three children were born to Andrew and Elizabeth Horgan:
  • Hanora Mary in December 1906 
  • Edward John (my father) in May 1908 and 
  • Joseph Andrew in April 1910

More family weddings at Tarlee

Andrew's only daughter Hanora Mary, did not marry and with his death having occurred at the age of 82 in 1951, he did not live to see three of his grand-daughters and one of his great grand-daughters also marry in this church. All four of the brides mentioned, had grown up on that same family farm where Andrew was raised.

Notes on the church

(1) CATHOLIC CHURCH, TARLEE.—On Sunday last, His Lordship the Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr. Reynolds, solemnly opened the church which has recently been erected at Tarlee. There was a large attendance, including a number of the residents of Kapunda, and the amount collected reached a goodly sum. 
1877  Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer (SA : 1864 - 1878), 14 August, p. 2, viewed 28 January, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134886096
(2) Catholic Church, Tarlee.—By a notice appearing in another column it will be seen that the Stations of the Cross will be solemnly erected in the Roman Catholic Church, Tarlee, on Sunday next, by the Rev. J. Tappiner, of Norwood. We are informed that the Stations recently arrived from Austria, and that they are masterpieces of art and really beautiful.
1881 'The Kapunda Herald.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 15 March, p. 3, viewed 27 January, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106566334

25 January 2014

A victim of the 1919 influenza epidemic

Patrick Joseph O'Dea, 1877 - 1919

Patrick Joseph and Georgina Ellen (Bennett) O'DEA
on their wedding day Sept 11, 1907
I did not have the pleasure of meeting my grandfather, indeed my mother was only 7 years 4 months old when Spanish flu struck in August of 1919 and took her father.

Patrick Joseph O'Dea was born to John and Maria O'Dea in South Australia in 1877. He married Georgina Ellen Bennett on September 11, 1907. Daughters were born in 1908 and 1910 - then in 1911 they moved with the two little ones from Pinkerton Plains, his parents' home in South Australia, to Ngallo, Victoria and took up a newly released block of land in order to establish a farm. 

My mother, Hannah Olive (O'Dea) Horgan retold the story of those early years. 

They set out with all of their belongings in a horse-drawn dray for a property which my father had purchased from the government. The property consisted of one thousand acres of unfenced and uncleared land at Ngallo, a settlement in Victoria, just over the South Australian border. The trip took them eight days.

Life was not easy and accommodation was basic. My mother's words:
They built a circular broom brush hut, in which they lived until a house was built of wood and iron a few years later. The broom brush shelter then became the wash house, as I remember it. The toilet was the long-drop type – and a long way from the house.
My father, his brother and my cousin set about clearing the land and fencing it. They also erected a brush fence all around the house block, made white gravel paths and installed wooden gates. The house consisted of four large rooms, with the front and back verandah enclosed. A huge rainwater tank formed one wall of the kitchen. Not far from the house, a bore was sunk and a windmill built. This water served both the stock and the garden.

Four more children were born between 1912 and 1918 including my mother, born in Pinnaroo in 1912. She continues:

My mother and father were very hard workers. Clearing the land, planting trees and attending to stock kept my father busy. He grew all of our vegetables and many flowers too. He was an avid gardener but always had time for Mum and we children, teaching us our prayers and Irish songs and jigs. He had many medals for Irish dancing.

Then tragedy struck just as peace was declared at the end of World War I. Patrick had been ill in bed.

Our father, being the only Justice of Peace in the district, was called upon to speak at the Declaration of Peace. This was held in Murrayville, and a huge crowd had gathered to celebrate. Evidently, Dad was not feeling well, but we set out from home with Mum and we six children in our two horse drawn buggy to attend the function. Dad was speaking from the back of a wagon when he collapsed. From there, he was taken to Pinnaroo hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonic flu. Our dear father never regained consciousness and died three weeks later, on the 8th of August, 1919.

1919 'Family Notices.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931),
 16 August, p. 8, viewed 25 January, 2014,   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5615522

O'DEA.- On the 8th August, at Nurse Pahl's Private Hospital, Pinnaroo, Patrick Joseph, the beloved husband of Georgina Ellen O'Dea, aged 41 years and 10 months. R.I.P.

What a tragedy this was for my grandmother Georgina Ellen O'Dea, and her 6 children under the age of 12, the baby Ronald Patrick O'Dea not yet 10 months old.

8 January 2014

Beginning in South Australia

My mother, Hannah Horgan (born O'Dea) died at 101 years of age at the end of June 2013. She was the matriarch, gathering family together at any opportunity. She valued and treasured her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Now that she is gone I realise how valuable family photos and stories will be for future generations. So my interest in family history is relatively recent, but very rewarding and time consuming.

Since July I have found extensive records via Trove about the ancestral families on both my maternal and paternal side. Thanks go to my brother for supplying me with an invaluable document that piqued my interest about the early settlers in South Australia and supplied the starting point for my research.
Additional stimulus came from reading my mother's reflections on her life, as she had related her story in 1992, at the prompting of one of her 27 grandchildren. Thank you Deirdre for recording those memories.
These family stories should live on, not just in my genealogy database but for the extended family and future generations.

And so I begin, in South Australia's early days.

This 1848 map from The British Library's collection of newly released public domain images comes from South Australia : its advantages and its resources : being a description of that colony and manual of information for emigrants : by George Blakiston Wilkinson. The book was published in 1848, a scant 4 years before the first of my Irish ancestors arrived in the colony.

Whilst it is of little use to speculate upon its audience and actual readership, it does provide a very interesting background to early settlement, perceived and real difficulties as well as providing advice on all manner of enterprise from emigration to agriculture and relationships with aboriginal inhabitants. It is certainly enlightening to read works so far removed from current thinking and the reality of life in Australia in 2014. The book is free from The British Library.

On this blog I will retell some stories of those who lived in earlier times and reflect on their lives in days gone by.